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How to Prepare Your Kitchen: Must Have Food Cupboard Items

The secret of being prepared for any recipe is to keep a well-stocked pantry. Unless you relish the idea of living off of expensive ready meals or purchasing takeaways regularly, then a good selection of standard food staples is required. This kit of food basics creates the building blocks of many different recipes and even gives you room to adapt recipes and create new ones from scratch.

Many of these items are long life and can be kept on hand within your cupboards for long periods of time. However, others are perishable, so it is always a good idea to note down expiration dates and check whether items require refrigeration once opened or stored within a particular place. The key to keeping your cupboards well stocked is to organised item rotation by expiry date and knowing when you need to purchase more supplies.

The best way to ensure you have all of your required basics is to go through a meal plan of recipes you eat within a normal week.  Jot down all the required ingredients and cross them off as you go through the week. This is also the best way to figure out how much of each ingredient you should invest in in the beginning.

Below is a list of all items you should consider stocking in your pantry to guarantee you are adequately prepared.


Long Life Cupboard Items

  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Tinned beans – baked, kidney and white beans
  • Dried Beans – lima, lentils, black
  • Bread crumbs
  • Broth – vegetable, chicken
  • Cereal
  • Chocolate – cocoa powder, unsweetened squares, chips
  • Coffee – ground, beans, instant
  • Crackers
  • Dried fruit – raisins, apricots
  • Extracts – vanilla, lemon, almond
  • Flour – All-purpose, cake, bread
  • Gelatine
  • Powdered milk
  • Mushrooms – Tinned or dried
  • Nuts – almonds, peanuts, walnuts etc
  • Dried Pasta – spaghetti, penne, noodles
  • Rice – long grain, basmati
  • Tinned soup
  • Sugar – granulated, confectioners
  • Tea
  • Tinned meats – tuna
  • Yeast


  • Garlic
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Milk
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes


  • Table sauces – BBQ sauce, tomato ketchup, salad cream etc.
  • Chilli paste and sauce
  • Honey
  • Jam
  • Maple Syrup
  • Marmalade
  • Mustards
  • Olives
  • Soy sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce

Herbs and Spices

  • Allspice
  • Basil
  • Chili Powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Curry Powder
  • Five-spice powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Ginger
  • Mint (dried)
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano (dried)
  • Pepper
  • Rosemary (dried)
  • Salt
  • Thyme 

Pickup Truck Towing Tips

If you’re lucky enough to own your own pickup truck then you’re probably more than likely going to be considering towing a trailer in the near future. Setting down the groundwork and knowing what to look out for means you’ll have an easy time towing and know how to act if things go wrong.

Before you Tow

Before you set off on your towing adventures you should read the owner’s manual in advance. Look out for facts such as the pick up’s maximum load limit and if there are any other specific notes about towing from the manufacturer. Now is also a good time to check that the trailer you intend to tow is the right type for your pickup. Trailer hitch classes are used to determine whether your pickup can tow a certain load – the higher the class, the higher the gross trailer weight.

General mechanical checks should also be carried out. Check your tire pressure on both the pickup and trailer and ensure that all lug nuts are tightened correctly. It’s also worth adjusting the mirrors on the cab to ensure that you have a good view behind your pickup and the trailer.

Connecting the Trailer

One top tip is to put a light coat of grease on the trailer ball before you connect the tongue to it. This will prevent friction and make your life a whole lot easier when you’re removing it in the future. It will also enable the trailer to move smoothly. After you’ve locked the two together confirm that they are locked together securely without any excessive movement between the two. If you’re connecting trailer wiring to your truck do a double check to make sure the lights and electric brakes on the trailer are working to prevent having to reconnect it all later.  You should also connect your safety chains from the trailer to the pickup at this point.

Pulling the Trailer

Driving whilst towing a trailer changes the way the pickup drives completely. To get the trailer moving requires a harder push on the accelerator, a longer time to reach the initial speed and an extended distance to bring the two vehicles to a stop.

Braking immediately can have disastrous consequences, such as jack-knifing, so it is important to train yourself to look as far ahead as possible for potential hazards and drive with caution. For this reason it’s also a good idea to put more space between you and the vehicle in front then you normally would do.

Turning when towing is also effected as the trailers wheels will not track the same as your pickups. The turning circle on them will be tighter so if you’re trying to turn left, the trailers left wheels will be just over the centre line, pushing the trailer itself into oncoming traffic. To solve this make sure you are making wider turns to make up for the difference in tracking.

Considering A Job As A Civil Servant?

Considering a job as a civil servant? The vast amount of information available can be a little overwhelming, so here are a few reasons why it might be a good option for you.

1. The public sector is well-known for its fantastic working conditions. With monitored overtime, set weekly work hours and flexible lunch breaks, it puts the long, unpaid overtime frequently found in private sector jobs to shame.

2. The fantastic holiday leave really does leave the private sector in its shadow.  With up to 30 days holiday a year, plus 10 days of bank holidays, you’ll have enough time to kick back and enjoy your generous salary.

3. In London, jobs pay more than the rest of the UK, so an administrative assistant will be looking to earn over 18k as a starting wage. With a well-structured promotional system, you can work your way up into senior management if you choose. Those with degrees or experience can expect to start on a higher salary.

4. The flexible working environment offered by the civil service means that combining a family and work life can easily be achievable. With fantastic maternity and paternity leave, ‘flexi-time’ and the option of working at home, it’s not hard to establish the balance between home and the office.

It’s not all a walk in the park though. There’s no significant financial perks over your basic wage and if you’re not a team player it will be difficult for you to fit into the environment. Also, if you’re strongly political, you may find it difficult to serve a party you’re not passionate about. But if you’re still interested, then get online now and find your new rewarding career in the civil service.

Everything You Need to Know to Breeze through Ironing

Choosing the right steam iron can save you not only from creases, but also, time, energy and money. Ever increasing ironing technology and multiple iron brands means that choosing the right appliance from the large number of steam irons on the market can be confusing.

Below is a guide to some of the features you should look out for on a steam iron and how they affect the iron’s performance.

Quality of Soleplate

The one all important factor to consider when choosing an iron is the quality of the soleplate. The easier it is for the iron to glide over your clothes the easier you’ll find ironing them! Cheap irons generally have aluminium or stainless steel soleplates. While these materials may be strong they are also very prone to being scratched and reducing the level of glide you will get. The best quality soleplates are Durilium, chrome-plated or sapphire and Anodilium if you’re going for the most expensive.  A soleplate made of a stronger material is much less likely to get scratches and last for years.

Steam Flow Rate

The steam flow rate is another important factor to take into consideration when choosing an iron. This states the rate in grams per minute that the iron produces steam. A higher rate will mean that you have a shorter time ironing out creases in different types of fabric. The average steam flow rate of an iron means that the typical iron with a 400ml tank can be used for around 30 minutes before having to be refilled. Also consider finding an iron that has a reduced heating time to match a high steam flow rate and you’ll have sped up your ironing considerably.

Anti Lime Scale

You will find that a lot of irons come complete with anti-lime scale measures as standard. This is typically a process that charges the tank to its highest temperature and blasts the heat into the steam chamber, blasting out any dirt and lime scale. It’s good to note that you shouldn’t use the iron straight after de-scaling it! The debris that was blasted out of the steam chamber will now be on the outside of the iron and will be wiped all over your clothes.

Other models of irons have an anti-lime scale cartridge within them. This stick is actually a resin that attracts and retains the lime scale and stops it clogging up the rest of the machine. Unfortunately these cartridges will need replacing every 3 to 6 months depending on the hardness of the water in your area.

While the irons may have anti-lime scale features, it’s often best to use preventative measures in order to prevent build up. Use water that has been mixed with a de-scaling solution or dilute it with some demineralised water to prolong the appliances lifespan.

Finding A Graduate Job In A Crowded Marketplace

If you’re graduating from university in 2012 and heading out onto the rolling ocean of the UK job market then you may well want to take a lifebelt.

New figures show that this year’s university leavers will not only be competing against their peers, but also graduates from the year before.

The High Fliers’ study shows that the one in three applicants for the average graduate job today come from the 2011 university output.

With the average graduate vacancy receiving 48 responses and 50,000 more graduates than five years ago there is some stiff competition out there, so how do you get the position you want?

Plan Ahead

You may not know exactly what job you want to do when you leave university, but you’ll probably have an idea of the kind of work you enjoy doing, and it may not necessarily be anything related to your degree.

More than 50 per cent of employers said that graduates would have little or no chance of getting a job without experience, but don’t let this scare you; recruiters won’t be looking for you to have done the exact job they’re offering, they will be looking for experience that includes some of the skill set necessary to do the work.

With this in mind use your university time to develop the extra-curricular skills you think will benefit you most in working life. Join a debating team, work on the university magazine or even set up your own virtual stock market, focus on practical skills that you enjoy.


The old axiom that ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ still stands true today in some industries. You will meet lots of different and interesting people at university, both peers and members of the academic body, many of whom will have connections to industries in the wider world.

We’re not saying be friends with somebody just because their daddy’s a banker, just use the opportunity of being around people who know about the jobs you want to do to gather as much information as possible. This can often lead to summer internships or information about forthcoming job opportunities, and even if you get into your chosen industry by another method you will already have contacts to help you network and move up.

The graduate job market may be crowded, but with a bit of planning and enthusiasm you can quickly put yourself ahead of the pack and achieve the career you want.